Former TAD Champ Alan Bradshaw earns Top Fuel license READING, Pa. - One word could describe former NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster World Champion Alan Bradshaw when it comes to his career: driven. Not one to wait patiently on the sidelines for his ...
Former TAD Champ Alan Bradshaw earns Top Fuel license
READING, Pa. - One word could describe former NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster World Champion Alan Bradshaw when it comes to his career: driven. Not one to wait patiently on the sidelines for his dreams of competing in Top Fuel or Funny Car to come to him, Bradshaw has taken a proactive approach. Last Monday at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., following the completion of the NHRA Toyo Tires Nationals held there, Bradshaw earned his Top Fuel competition license behind the wheel of the Hartman Motorsports Top Fuel dragster with runs of 4.65 seconds at 316.75 mph and 4.77 at 307.98 mph. Both runs were under the watchful eye of veteran team owner Virgil Hartman and current Top Fuel drivers, John Smith and Clay Millican.
Bradshaw, a practicing chiropractor in Odessa, Texas, re-entered the NHRA pro-sportsman ranks behind the wheel of his own blown alcohol dragster in the Top Alcohol Dragster class in 2001 after having participated in the alcohol ranks periodically since 1993. Known for his quick reaction times, Bradshaw went on to win the NHRA Division 5 (Midwest Division) Top Alcohol Dragster Championship in 2002. After winning in his own car, Bradshaw wanted to take the next step towards the nitro ranks and teamed up with Randy Meyer to drive Meyer's injected-nitro A/Fuel Dragster. The duo produced immediate results and won the 2003 Top Alcohol Dragster World Championship.
Following the team's championship season, Bradshaw left the team to pursue his dreams to drive in the pro ranks. While he hasn't earned a ride yet, Bradshaw's wait hasn't been entirely on the sidelines. In 2004, he briefly drove for Len Cottrell's team, and currently is the interim driver for the JSM Motorsports Top Alcohol Dragster. . "My goal is to make it to the fuel ranks," said Bradshaw. "I was hoping some doors would open that would allow me to license in someone's car and show what I could do. There are some opportunities out there, but they all ask the same question: do you have a license? So I took the step forward to work with Virgil Hartman to get my license in one of their team cars and I am so glad I chose this team. They are a great organization with good equipment. Give them a multi-million dollar sponsor and they would be all over this class moving to the top!"
"Following Indy, we initially tried to get the license two weeks ago in Atlanta, but the conditions just weren't right to run a Top Fuel car," Bradshaw explained. "Plus, Virgil wanted to teach me some fundamental driving principles with respect to a Top Fuel Dragster that differed somewhat from what I was used to so we decided to finish my license in testing following the Dallas race. Having had a couple of days to think about the "big picture", I decided keeping opportunities open and being prepared for anything is what I needed to do so I called Virgil two days after Atlanta and said I would like to go to Reading to finish up my license."
"You never know what's out there, and I want to be available for any impromptu opportunities that may present themselves," Bradshaw continued. "It really was a great opportunity to drive the Hartman Motorsports dragster. We came in and kicked the doors down Texas-style with a 4.65 at almost 317mph and then a 4.77 at 307.98 when some other teams were struggling to make it down the track. Hopefully I've demonstrated I can get one of these beasts down the track on a competitive level, so if the call comes, I'm ready to go."
Bradshaw was quick to point out that he realized two good runs doesn0x2859t make him a veteran by any means but felt that his potential was demonstrated on those two runs.
In today's age, performance on the track is only half the battle to being successful. Mastering the business side of the sport and securing the funding it takes to propel the 330 mph beasts down the quarter mile is quite a task in itself. Bradshaw is actively working on that side of the sport as well.
"I am looking at different funding opportunities," commented Bradshaw. "There are several deals in the works to bring funding to an existing, competitive team. With the right deal I haven't ruled out the possibility of fielding my own team, but primarily, I'm looking to team up with a competitive team. While most of my experience has been in a dragster, I will readily jump behind the wheel of a Funny Car if the opportunity presents itself. I've worked my way up the sportsman ranks through the alcohol categories, and been fortunate enough to surround myself with good people and equipment that led to our success at every level. I would like to think I can be a wise investment for a potential Fuel team and their respective sponsor."
With the same competitive desire that fueled two championship-winning efforts, Bradshaw has his eye on the pro ranks with only one acceptable outcome: landing a ride.
"Bottom line, the fuel ranks are where I want to be, and I'm going to get there," stated Bradshaw.
If desire and determination have anything to do with it, Bradshaw will be driving a nitro car at a track near you very soon.